Saturday 4 December 2021
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Nottingham

Nottingham Castle bosses reviewing entire visitor experience including pricing structure

A review of the entire visitor experience including ticket prices is being conducted by the trust which runs Nottingham Castle.

It follows complaints from some visitors about the cost of entry at the attraction, which re-opened in June following a £30 million redevelopment.

The review has been outlined by Nottingham Castle Trust, which said it understands “the strong feeling of local people regarding the ticket structure”.

A general admission ticket is £13 for adults, while the interactive Robin Hood Experience is £3 extra and the Castle Caves experience is an additional £5.

General admission for a family starts at £22.50.

Professor Ted Cantle CBE, Chair of the Nottingham Castle Trust Board, said: “We are committed to, and have started, a process of change with all elements of the visitor experience now under review after our initial few months in operation.

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“We understand and take seriously the strong feeling of local people regarding the ticket structure and offering greater access to the grounds.”

“Ticket prices were set at a level to support the trust as a self-sustaining charity which generates income solely through visitors, donors and volunteers. All income goes directly towards education, upkeep, preservation and improvement of the castle, collections and landscape for the long-term benefit of visitors.

“A proportion of ticket income is dedicated to increasing the diversity of its visitors, especially local audiences which are currently less engaged in arts, culture and heritage. Any change to entry prices must also take this wider impact into consideration but we acknowledge that this is an essential part of the current review.”

Earlier this week, Conservative Nottingham City Councillor Andrew Rule raised concerns over some Nottingham families being “priced out” of visiting the newly refurbished site.

Councillor Rule said: “My concerns stem from the increasing amount of negative publicity there seems to be about the pricing of the castle.

“By all means charge for Robin Hood [the interactive experience], but I think residents should be able to get access to the gardens. Historically you’ve always been able to get into the gardens.

“This is a major attraction in the city and something that we want to ensure residents have the opportunity to visit on an affordable basis.”

The trust is an independent charity appointed to run the site on behalf of Nottingham City Council.

The council said the castle welcomed 55,041 visitors by the end of August.

Former castle chief executive Sara Blair-Manning left the role on August 13. Robin Bischert was appointed the interim chief executive shortly afterwards.

Professor Cantle added: “Part of the work currently under way is making the most of our social impact fund, which will assist disadvantaged students by offering free or subsidised access to schools and educational groups.

“We also have the first of many free open days, which not only grants full access to the castle but free educational activities, taking place this weekend where over a thousand tickets were gifted on a first come, first serve basis.

“Additional ticket types, including annual passes, which offer excellent value for money, will also be launched once the capacity of attractions can be increased in line with our Covid safety rules.

“The trust and everyone at the castle are devoted to making it a success for the benefit of the city and all its residents. We agree that more needs to be done and again thank those who are similarly passionate about its important contribution to the prosperity of the city.”

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “It is important to state that the pricing for Nottingham Castle is set by the Trust which is an independent ‘not for profit company’ not in the control of Nottingham City Council.

“Clearly when the City Council placed the concession agreement for the trust to operate the site, it was important to us that pricing set was ‘fair and reasonable’ and in-line with pricing alongside similar visitor attractions locally and regionally. A look at their prices compared to many other similar type of attractions show that it is not vastly different.

“We do know that after two months of trading there are some lessons that can be learnt which we have already flagged to the site’s new interim Chief Executive who we are working with.

“I am pleased to say that following these discussions the Trust Board are planning to review prices, in particular for city residents, which we hope will be announced shortly.”

 

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